Friday, November 05, 2010

Mix and Match: integration of social media

When you use social media, it may seem very chaotic and dispersed. You have a blog and a website. But you also have a twitter account and you have set up a facebook page. Maybe you have thematic wikis too. How do all these different media link together and complement each other? How do you prevent that it becomes chaotic for your partners, stakeholders and network members? And that you post the same information on various media? Social media may seem chaotic, but the advantage of this chaos is that it allows people to have their own personalized experiences. A person may read all your tweets, another person may add your website to their RSS reader. Using various media makes it easier for people to connect in their preferred ways. Therefore you cannot do away with email and personal, face-to-face contacts.

1. Choose a starting page

Make sure that you have a clear starting page, where you may guide new people to, who are interested to know more about the work of your organisation. This may be your website, but it may also be your weblog. If you have made this choice, you can make sure all the other spaces are clearly linked to this starting page. .

2. Show people on your starting page the other media where you have a presence

You may use the icons as shown above. This means there is an RSS feed, Creative Commons license, and you can be found on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube. In this way people can choose to follow you on the media of their preference. You can find the icons by searching on Google for “free social media icon set”.

3. Learn what to communicate where

Try to keep in mind and find out the strengths and weaknesses of various channels. Facebook may be better for playful content and quizzes, Twitter for short messages and pulling people to your blog, your weblog may be best to post a long interview. Make sure you don’t copy paste the same information in all places. People may follow you through various media and don’t want to receive the same information 5 times. Try to find out what works. If you announce new blogposts via Twitter but never get any click throughs (this is visible in most used site statistics) you may stop posting your blog links. Tip: If you shorten your links with you can analyse the number of clicks through their website.

4. Display information from one media in the other through feeds

You can use RSS feeds to display information from one medium directly in another. For instance, you can show your tweets in the sidebar of your blog (like I'm doing at this page). Or you can show your blog on your Facebook page. You can integrate your Wikipage as a page in your social network (this is possible in the example of Ning). A Youtube video can be shown directly in a blogpost. The way to do it is different in various media. In most cases, you will copy a certain code and paste in the ‘html’ section of your weblog or website.

Three examples:
  • To display your tweets on your Wordpress blog go to Appearance and choose Widgets. You can then add RSS to your Sidebar (click and drag). Then copy the RSS feed on the lower end of your right Sidebar on your own Twitter page and Save.
  • To display Twitter on your website you can grab the code here after making some choices on what to display.
  • To display a Youtube video on your blog or website you click on Embed under the video you want to display. You copy the code and paste it in the HTML section of your weblog. (the code looks like this:

5. Help users to find their way

When a lot of partners may not know what an RSS feed is, you may offer an explanation of what it is. Here you will find an example of the BBC. They offer RSS feeds, but also explain what a news feed is and how people may use it.

Want to read more?
Check out:
Knitting together your Website, Email and Social Media Content. (by Beth Kanter)
Social media integration: examples and tips.

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